Colin awoke to the sounds of someone moaning. His warm feet on a cold floor sent shivers along his spine. Daddy's snores followed Colin downstairs.
He was silent as a coyote. Because children were supposed to be in bed this time of day.
Down the stairs he sneaked, steps creaking along the way. Now he heard a muffled "Helllppp," from the living room.
Someone was in trouble.
His wristwatch said showed 1 am. It was already Christmas morning!
"Yikes!" Something moved between stockings hung on the fireplace!
Looking closer he could see two wiggling legs. A shiny moon streamed through the window, showing two shiny black boots.
"Could that be Santa stuck in our chimney?" the boy dared to think.
A muffled "Help me," captured his ears once again. "Quick, pull me down."
Colin grabbed one boot and tugged. No luck. He tried the other foot. No luck. "I'm going to get mom and dad," he said.
"Don't leave me," the voice said from the chimney.
"Are you Santa?" Colin asked.
"Yes. Yes. Hurry up, pull me down."
So Colin put all his muscles to work. He placed both hands around one boot pulling with all his might.
"RIPPP!" was loud in the quiet room. The same happened to the second boot. "OhOh," Colin said, holding onto both torn soles.
"Ho. Ho. Ho," was a familiar sound. "You're a strong little fellow." The famous bearded face and red cheeks smiled at Colin.
"You are Santa!"
"Yes, young fellow. And you know why I'm here," he winked. Then Santa reached up in the fireplace and pulled down a bulging bag of toys.
He began sorting nicely wrapped presents.
Colin helped too. Last Saturday Colin also helped with decorations for his family's beautiful balsam tree. It was fun.
And Colin scotch-taped colorful Christmas cards to their doorjambs. That way they could show all the friends they had.
However, being with Santa Claus was more exciting!
"Would you help me with a problem?" Santa asked. "I don't have a second pair of boots. As you can see my soles are ripped off. Ho. Ho. Ho."
"Maybe daddy has a pair," Colin quickly answered. "Come upstairs and try some on."
"You go ahead and get them. I have work to do," Santa said.
Colin climbed the stairs, avoiding every wooden creak, then into his parent's closet. "This pair should do," he whispered.
"Whew," no one woke up when Colin dropped a shoe. It clunked noisily on the floor. Back down the stairs for the little boy.
"OhOh" Santa said. "Wrong color, I need black ones."
The next time Colin brought daddy's slippers without the backs. But they kept falling off Santa's feet when he walked.
Finally Colin found a pair of black leather shoes. But they were too tight. Colin's cat "meowed" each time he came by, waking her up.
"What are we going to do?" the boy asked. He was sorry he had wrecked Santa's boots. Besides, it was tiring going up and down stairs.
Suddenly, a thought danced in Colin's head.
Daddy's basement workshop had just what he needed. Some duct tape and black model paint should fix Santa's boots. And it did.
Santa proudly lifted each foot, after the repairs were completed. Just like presents from a little boy.
Now Colin could barely stop looking at the tree. Presents in all shapes and sizes lay under its bottom branches.
"Did you get my list?" Colin asked shyly.
"HO-HO-HO. I sure did," Santa answered.
"You really brought me an IPOD and a Lego motorized motorcycle?" Colin excited asked. "A Game Boy and Snowboard too?"
"HO-HO-HO. Not so fast," jolly St. Nick answered. "You'll find out, after you get back to sleep. Now I have to go. Boys and girls all over are waiting."
"Don't forget my carrots for your reindeer," Colin said. "And peanut butter cookies for you, Santa."
"Yummy," Santa said, patting his tummy as he munched one. "Ho-Ho-Ho. You will always be my special friend," he said.
"Forever?" the boy asked.
"Yes, indeed. Now give me a push up the chimney."
Colin was proud to see Santa's black boots looking good as new. Duct tape wrapped around the soles, and joined to the leather. Daddy's black model paint was a perfect match.
"Ho-Ho-Ho" sounds floated down the chimney. And anxious Reindeer hoofs readied for their next house visit.
"Bye Santa," was no more than a whisper from a little boy. It was his promise to always try and be a good boy.
Then, quick as a reindeer Collin hurried up the stairs. He charged past mommy and daddy's room then dived into bed. Almost landing on top of his cat, Whiskers.
Opening presents later should be a blast. But it was already Colin's best Christmas ever.
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher 2007
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.